23 Fall Annuals (Colorful Fall Plants!)

These fall annuals will keep your flower beds full of vibrant blooming color from late summer through fall! 

The bold colors of summer don’t have to fade away once we hit September.  These gorgeous annual plants will bloom in the cooler temperatures of fall. 

Be sure to plan your fall flower beds around these autumn annuals.  We have full sun AND shade options, plus growing tips for each plant shared!

Many of these plants can grow in your garden beds from early spring until fall – but they need to be given flower fertilizer and watered correctly in order to produce flower blooms all season!  

Find the best autumn annuals for pots and containers here!

23 Fall Annuals For Color In Your Flower Beds

These gorgeous flowers will light up your autumn garden with color and vibrancy:

1. Ornamental Peppers

red and yellow ornamental peppers in a fall annual garden

Sparkling like Christmas lights, Ornamental peppers add a pop of bold color to the fall garden. Available in red, green and yellow, these colorful veggies add a vibrant hue to the fall garden.

Ornamental peppers thrive in hot weather and need full sun, but they will stay healthy up until the first frost of Autumn.  Give ornamental peppers a full sun location with well draining soil.

Check out these adorable pumpkin planters for a festive way to decorate your front porch!

2. Ornamental Kale

Ornamental kale will add rich ruffled layers of pink, white and green leaves to the flower beds. These cool season plants thrive in full sun and make great fall container plants.  Space plants about six inches apart and give them rich, well-drained soil. 

These annual plants are both beautiful and functional: the leaves of ornamental kale are edible.  They will brighten up your fall salads and side dishes!  Plant ornamental kale when you do fall planting for other greens like spinach, radishes and lettuce.

3. Sweet Alyssum

purple sweet alyssum flowers

Sweet Alyssum is a timeless flower that offers fluffy white petlas that have a sprawling habit. This easy to grow annual also comes in shades of pink and purple. Sweet Alyssum boasts an attractive fragrance that both bees and butterflies love.  

Grow Sweet Alyssum in full sun or partial shade.  These easy growing annuals enjoy moist, well draining soil and can survive as perennials in warm climates.  

4. Ornamental Cabbage

ornamental cabbage

Another cool weather ornamental plant, Ornamental Cabbage will add texture and beauty to the fall garden.  Ornamental Cabbage feature ruffled leaves with a rainbow of purple, white and green.  The fancy foliage is ruffled, and coupled with the bright colors they make quite a statement in Autumn!

Ornamental cabbage are often grown as annuals, but they are actually biennials, completing it’s life cycle in two years.  Though they can tolerate full sun, ornamental cabbage do best when they have morning sun with afternoon shade.

5. Black-Eyed Susan

black eyed susan make the perfect fall annual for the garden

With their black centers and vibrant orange-red petals, Black-Eyed Susan are a popular low maintenance fall flower.  Black-Eyed Susans are known to be tender perennials and can survive in zones 3-11. (Find your USDA Hardiness zone here).

Black-Eyed Susan stay vibrant throughout the fall growing season, making them one of the best cool weather flowers.  There are many gorgeous varieties of Black-Eyed Susan to choose from (our favorite is Cherokee Sunset!).

Black-Eyed Susan thrive in full sun and are adaptable to a wide range of soil.

6. Chrysanthemums

red Chrysanthemums can be grown as a fall annual

Renowned as one of the best fall flowers, Chrysanthemums boast gorgeous pink, purple, yellow, red or white flowers.  

Mums can tolerate full sun to partial shade, making them a versatile fall annual. They will start blooming in late summer and flourish throughout the entire season.  
While mums will tolerate cold temperatures, a harsh frost can kill the plant. Insulate pots with cardboard on frosty nights, and read this article on how to make mums last longer!

Mums crave moist soil, but make sure to water at the base of the plant to prevent flower damage.

Hardy mums can be grown as perennials and will come back every year!

7. Dusty Miller

dusty miller in a fall garden

With soft elegant silver green leaves, Dusty Miller is a standout in the fall garden.  Often grown in pots and containers, Dusty Miller is hardy in zones 7-10 and will tolerate some cooler temperatures in autumn.  

It’s trademark silver leaves add the perfect accent to the jewel tones of autumn.  Pair Dusty Miller with bright pansies and primroses, and add cascading nasturtiums for added dimension.

Dusty Miller grows best in full sun and needs fertile, well draining soil in order to thrive.

8. Pansies

blue pansies

Pansies boast clever little flower faces smiling in flower boxes and containers all throughout fall. These cold-tolerant flowers thrive in the crisp Autumn air.  

Pansies come in a wide range of colors with rich jewel tones.  These small plants are the perfect flower for a fall aesthetic!

Feature these cool-season annuals in window boxes, flower beds and containers.  Deadhead pansies regularly and the plants will continue to produce fall blooms all season.

9. Wallflowers

Wallflowers are hardy annuals that can thrive in cooler weather and will add a burst of color to the fall garden.  They come in brilliant shades of purple, yellow and orange flowers.

Wallflowers boast fragrant flowers and are easy to grow.  Give them full sun (at least 6 hours) and well-draining soil.  They do not like to keep their feet (roots) wet.

As a taller plant, wallflowers make an excellent feature in containers.  Pair them with cascading annuals like petunias and Sweet Potato Vine.

10. Sunflowers

dwarf sunflowers in a fall container

With their happy yellow petals and shiny black seeds, sunflowers are the quintessential fall flower.  There are so many varieties to choose from and they can be grown in pots + containers. Dwarf sunflowers make excellent cut flowers for fall!

Sunflowers are available in a wide variety of hues: yellow, orange, gold and red flowers are available.   Start planting sunflowers in early summer, then plant additional seeds throughout the growing season in order to have plants blooming all throughout fall!

Don’t forget to harvest your sunflower seeds from the head- or toss them into the garden for the birds! 

Learn all about the sunflower life cycle and root systems here!

11. Dahlias

dahlia flowers growing as a fall annual in the autumn garden

Dahlias are one of the best flowering plants for the fall garden.  Known for their prolific blooms, one dahlia plant can produce hundreds of blooms in one season.  

There are thousands of dahlia varieties, ranging in form and color.  Dahlias are tender annuals: they can be grown as perennials in ones 8-10, but are commonly grown as annuals in colder zones.  

Give dahlias lots of sunlight and water.  Deadhead regularly to encourage new blooms, and give these heavy feeders the right fertilizer.

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12. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)

pink snapdragons growing in a fall garden

Oh, how darling and cheerful are snapdragons blooming in the fall!  We love these beautiful bloomers for their dragon shaped flower head and ability to tolerate light frosts.  

Snapdragons will often bloom in early spring, then fade in the heat of summer.  Then, they start blooming again in Autumn!  They will be one of the last colorful annuals blooming when in late fall. Snapdragons are biennial flowers that bring LOTS of color to your boarders and flower beds. 

Snapdragon flowers do well in partial shade to full sun and crave rich, well draining water. They tend to bloom longer if they are given shade in the afternoon.

13. Sweet Potato Vine

sweet potato vine growing in a fall garden

Sweet Potato Vine offers bright + colorful fall foliage that looks gorgeous growing next to fall flowers.  Often grown next to petunias, these tropical plants off a vibrant green color to the fall garden. 

These neon green plants can be grown in flower beds or featured cascading over containers.

Sweet Potato Vine can grow in full sun to shade, and they need rich well draining soil in order to thrive.

14. Dianthus

pink dianthus growing in a fall garden

​Annual Dianthus features mounding dark green foliage with bright pink flowers on long stalks. These cold hardy flowers bloom in summer but will boast a second flush of blooms in early fall if deadheaded in summer.

Dianthus are the perfect flower for pots and containers, and look spectacular growing in flower beds as well.

Give them well-drained soil in a sunny spot.  Avoid areas with soggy soil as the dianthus root system can be prone to rot.

15. Viola

Violas are the smaller flowered cousin to pansies, but boast more flowers and are hardier in cold weather.

Viola flower blooms are small but prolific, making them the perfect plant to add color to your fall containers.  

Violas grow best in dappled shade-avoid giving them the direct sun of late summer or early fall.  These autumn annuals will produce blooms well into fall when deadheaded regularly. Give viola moist, well draining soil.

16. Cosmos

Cosmos feature daisy-like flowers with delicate petals in hues of pink, coral, white, orange, red and yellow.

These easy growing annuals will bring a kaleidoscope of color to the fall garden as well.   Cosmos thrive in poor soil and are drought tolerant, making them a great plant for the busy gardener

Continue deadheading cosmos in the fall and they will faithfully produce flowers up until colder temperatures kick in.

17. Zinnias

purple zinnia flowers

While zinnias make a gorgeous summer flower they will continue to bloom up until the first frosts of autumn if deadheaded correctly!   Butterflies and bees love zinnias, so plant them near the garden in mid to late spring to help with pollination. 

Zinnias crave fertile, well draining soil and full sun.  These prolific bloomers will add tons of color to the autumn garden.  Try dwarf varieties in window boxes and containers. Taller varieties thrive as boarder plants and in flower beds.

18. Petunias

orange and yellow petunia flowers

Petunias are known to be summer annuals, but with the right pruning and ample fertilizer, these flowers will bloom until the first frost hits.  These spectacular flowers thrive in full sun and need regular watering, especially when grown in pots and containers.  

Petunias are prolific bloomers and will bring lots of cascading color to the fall garden, plus they are avaible in pretty fall colors such as orange and red!

Give petunias at least six hours of sunlight and regular water and fertilizing.

19. Nasturtium

green and orange nasturtiums

Nasturtium cascade in brilliant jewel tones and are famous for their attractive edible flowers. Their peppery flavor is often featured in gourmet salads, and these eye catching flowers enjoy the cold weather of fall and spring.  Protect summer flowers during hot spells by planting nasturtium in a shaded area.

Nasturtium will survive a light frost but will eventually succumb to the harsh frosts of late fall.

20. Lobelia

blue lobelia flowers

Featuring petite, cascading flowers in a rich blue hue, Lobelia is a popular fall flower.  Lobelia actually thrive in cooler temperatures and will bloom all fall.  

Available in pink, purple and white flowers, lobelia have a cascading growth habit.  They are an excellent annual for fall container gardens

These low-growing annuals do well in full to partial sun and need moist, rich soil with good drainage. 

21. Lantana 

pink and yellow lantana

The tubular shape of Lantana is a favorite for hummingbirds.  And as true annuals, Lantana will bloom up until the early frosts of fall kick in.

The flowers of lantana grow in colorful clumps of yellow, pink and orange, offset by rich green foliage.  These flowers are often seen in hanging baskets and containers,

In warmer zones with mild winters, Lantana can be grown as a tender perennial.  This means they may survive winter and return the next year.

22. Fuchsia

pink and purple fuchsia featured in a fall garden

Fuchsia bloom in lively shades of pink, purple and white, and are excellent fall bloomers. Known for their neon hues, Fuchsia are a popular shade plant and will bloom until first frosts of fall.

Though fuchsias thrive in shade, they need light in order to bloom.  Give them morning sun with afternoon shade.  Dappled light works as well!  Make sure to fertilize fuchsias at the end of summer to help them produce blooms in the autumn months.

23. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

​Calendula are easy to grow, cold-tolerant annuals that bloom in late fall to early winter.  These edible flowers are deer resistant and burst to life in bold colors of yellow, orange and white.

Calendula are very fast growing and only take about 60 days to flower when planted from seed.  Plant them in full sun to partial shade and give them moist, well draining soil. 

Calendula can be grown as short-lived perennials in many climates.  Check your USDA hardiness zone here.

Tips For Planting Annuals In Fall

Follow these tips for the best results when you are planting annuals in the fall:

  • Fill containers with fall annuals for a perfect fall display.  Pansies, primroses, violas, mums, and snapdragons can all be purchased in autumn.  Add to the mix ornamental cabbage and peppers, then scatter pumpkins throughout to finish the fall vibe.
  • As you clean up your flower beds and cut back perennials, pop in a splash of color to your autumn flower beds by adding potted mums and planting pansies.
  • Start planning for your fall garden when planning in spring.  This will allow you to purchase plants that will bloom all fall but need to be planted earlier in the year (such as petunias, lobelia, and cosmos).
  • Plant your fall annuals in late summer or early fall- as soon as cooler temperatures allow.  This will give your plants time to adjust- and give you a longer bloom time!

How To Get Annuals To Last All Fall

In Autumn, shorter days and colder temperatures come to stay .  And while the cozy fall vibe is full of comfort, some of us want out flowers to last just a little bit longer!

 Here’s how to get your summer annuals to perform well in fall:

  • Water your plants well in summer to prevent stress.  There’s no way around it- stressed out plants fade faster than well kept flowers.  Make sure to give your plants the right amount of water throughout the season to keep them healthy and robust
  • Flower fertilizer is essential if you want your plants to perform in the fall season.  Flowers use a lot of nutrients from the soil in order to produce their blooms. Support your gorgeous flowers with a high phosphorous flower fertilizer.
  • Deadhead annual plants as needed to stimulate bloom production
  • Take care of your summer container gardens to ensure that they bloom all through fall: fertilize, water and prune to keep the plants happy!
  • Pair your annual flowers with ornamental grasses, gourds and pumpkins for visual interest!

Get our guide for the best flowers for fall containers here!  

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